Wednesday, September 14, 2011

on sea vegetables

I mentioned yesterday that, while no shellfish were foraged on our trip to the coast, we did find edible seaweeds washed up on the beach, and brought some home... Up 'till this point, my experience with "sea vegetables" has been limited to Japanese food, either at home or in restaurants: sushi nori, hijiki snacks, and adding kombu when cooking sushi rice at home.

The two foraged types that we could readily identify on the beach, and gathered some to take home, were "sea lettuce" (one of the Ulva species) and "bladderwrack" (one of the Fucus species). It seemed the next useful step was to thouroughly wash the foraged greens, as there was rather a lot of sand that had been transported as well...

bladderwrack .
bladderwrack . . . . & . . . . . . sea lettuce

The sea lettuce seems to have somehow encased small amounts of sand in "pockets" in the foliage; S and I decided, after attempting to clean it, that it was just not possible to remove all the sand, despite repeated washing. Not enjoying the crunch of grit between teeth, the small amount of sea lettuce is destined to become part of the Acorn Cottage compost. (we tried offering it to the hens, but they prefer tasty bugs, and kale, to this unknown new greenery)

The bladderwrack, on the other hand, cleaned up nicely. We divided it up, once it had been washed, and I had to figure out what to do with my share of the bounty. Since I didn't think that a bowlful of crunchy and slightly mucilaganeous greens was particularly appealing, I decided to dry the seaweed, for future use as a soup additive. (Miso soup, with tofu, sea and land vegetables, and mushrooms, is a tasty wintertime breakfast.) Of course, this attempt to sun-dry something would happen on the days when our unseasonable hot sunny weather had just come to an end...

"Endeavor to persevere" - despite the delightfully cooler weather, the clusters of seaweed were pinned out on the clothesline in the side yard to dry. My hope is that the now gentle September sunshine, and the breezy air, will let them dry down enough to be stored away for future use. In a world of abundance, where I had resources to acquire additional useful devices, my choice would be to have an Excalibur food dehydrator, the friends I know that have one of these are very happy with how well they work, (unlike the cheaper round dehydrators) There had been talk of the resilience rangers making up some solar dehydrators this year, but I fear that we have missed the seasonal window for suchlike. Maybe next year...


  1. I look forward to hearing about the results of this experiment! =)

  2. That brings up memories. The family had a simple littlecabin in Cannon beach where we spent summers. Dad would join us when he could. It was grand.

    He'es kicking himself now for selling it for $14,000. Beachfront. The land alone now would be worth a million.